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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

What to expect, and what to remember, as Mexico celebrates Constitution Day

Mexico's cherished document arose from 1910 Revolution and many bloody conflicts

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Although the holiday is officially on Wednesday, Mexico celebrates Constitution Day on Monday to allow a three-day weekend for schools, banks and government offices.

Services such as trash collection will also be suspended for Merida households in Servilimpia territory. But Pamplona, ​​Corbase and Sana clients, and major supermarket chains and department stores, will operate as usual. Animaya Park will open its doors from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Expect festivals, fireworks and street celebrations.

A brief history

The Mexican Constitution was drafted during the Mexican Revolution of 1910 and approved by the Mexican Constitutional Congress on Feb. 5, 1917. Venustiano Carranza served as the first president under its terms.

The Revolution started as a rebellion against President Porfirio Díaz, who is remembered for saying, “The Mexican people would amount to nothing without being driven by the whip.”

Opposition against Díaz surfaced when Francisco I. Madero, who was educated in Europe and at the University of California, began to gain recognition and political power.

Diaz had Madero imprisoned, during which several other Mexican folk heroes began to emerge, including the well-known Pancho Villa in the north and Emiliano Zapata in the south.

Unable to control the insurgency, Diaz resigned in May 1911 and fled to France. Madero was then elected president but was opposed by Zapata, impatient for land reforms. By November, Zapata denounced Madero as president and took the position for himself. In 1919, Zapata was assassinated by Jesus Guajardo under orders from General Pablo Gonzalez.

Emiliano Zapata was born in 1879 in Morelos. Zapata assumed the responsibility of providing for his family at 17. when his father died. Of Mestizo blood, he spoke Nahuatl, the indigenous language of central Mexico. The village elected Zapata to be their leader in 1909. He quickly recruited an insurgent army of farmers from his village. Zapata and his men fought the government troops in the south of Mexico while Pancho Villa fought in the north, protecting farms and communities.

Pancho Villa was born Doroteo Arango, Durango, on June 5, 1878, the son of a field laborer. As an adolescent, Villa became a fugitive after killing a man who assaulted his sister. Fleeing to the mountains, he changed his name and became a bandit. In 1910, he joined what turned out to be a successful rebellion led by Madero. When Madero was assassinated in 1913, Villa formed an army of thousands, the Division del Norte. He fought on the side of Venustiano Carranza and the Constitutionalists.

Eventually, Venustiano Carranza rose to the presidency and organized an important convention whose outcome was the Constitution of 1917, which is still in effect today.

Carranza made land reform an important part of that constitution. This resulted in the ejido or farm cooperative program that redistributed much of the country’s land from the wealthy landholders to common people. The ejidos are still in place today and comprise nearly half of all the farmland in Mexico.

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